Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Amy Sohner: Get outside and get your hands dirty through community volunteer work
The sun has been shining, the temperatures have been warm and Central Kentuckians are venturing back out into their communities after shaking off winter’s chill. What better way to celebrate the spring than going outside and volunteering to get your hands dirty?
We all know that volunteering to do something to help your community, a neighbor or the earth leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, but giving your time has deeper benefits. A study published by the Corporation for National and Community Service demonstrates that individuals who volunteer their time enjoy significant health benefits, including greater life satisfaction, lower rates of depression and increased life spans. Sounds good so far, right?
What about taking these benefits and combining them with the joy and benefits that come from experiencing the great outdoors? According to research published by the Outdoor Foundation, participants in outdoor activities rate their fitness level 26 percent higher on average than nonparticipants and their health level 15 percent higher than nonparticipants.
If the health benefits don’t have you convinced, why not get out and volunteer to enjoy yourself, make new friends and do something good for the environment? Here are a few opportunities coming up in Central Kentucky. See you in the great outdoors!
April 21, 8:30 a.m. -12 p.m.
Great American Cleanup
At Masterson Station Park sponsored by Coca-Cola and Keep Lexington Beautiful
April 28, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Arbor Day Celebration
The celebration at the Arboretum will include a reading of the Arbor Day proclamation, tree planting with KU representatives, more than 40 exhibitors, free admission to the Kentucky Children’s Garden from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., guided native tree hikes and a tree seedling give-away. With a special passport you can visit four tree stations manned by UK forestry students to learn about roots, leaf transpiration, habitats and tree products.
April 28, 1 – 5 p.m.
Wolf Run Cleanup and Cardinal Valley Watershed Festival, 2077 Cambridge Drive, Lexington. Volunteers should be prepared to: get wet from the knees down, wear sturdy submersible shoes or boots (Hip waders work well) and bring work gloves you don’t mind getting wet. Bring water or a snack to tide you over. Refreshments will be served at a party for volunteers immediately following the cleanup. Volunteers under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult or be part of a sponsored youth organization with an adult leader present. (Teacher, Scoutmaster, Youth Minister etc.)
April 29, 1- 3 p.m.
Preston Cave Cleanup, 1935 Dunkirk Drive, Lexington
The Lexington Environmental Commission in conjunction with the Friends of Wolf Run sponsors this cleanup each year to help bring our park back to nature. This is part of the Great American Cleanup for Fayette County.
Amy Sohner is executive director of Bluegrass PRIDE and a graduate of the University of Kentucky in Natural Resource Conservation and Management. Sohner has worked with PRIDE since its inception in 2002 and is a Certified Environmental Educator. She is involved with the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Alliance, the Bluegrass Rain Garden Alliance, the Licking and Kentucky River Basin Teams, and serves as Vice-Chair of the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission. Sohner lives near the Kentucky River palisades with her husband, 5-year-old daughter and a multitude of pets.